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intends to speak upon a petition, usually gives notice of its Chapter
relate to proceedings of a judicial character."
are chiefly addressed, and to them they are sent in such
tions are creased, and the business of the house was so much inter-received,
rupted by the debates which arose on receiving petitions, 3 see p. 2 Petitions to that, under standing orders Nos. 76–79, adopted in 1842 and be opened 1853, a member, on the presentation of a petition, may read by mem
the prayer and make only a general statement regarding 8. 0. 76- tha sonra ond nature
the source and nature of the petition; and every petition 79, Appen. dix I. which conforms to the rules or practice of the house, is
brought to the table by the direction of the Speaker," who
does not allow debate thereon, but the petition may be read read by the by the Clerk, at the table, if required. Urgent
In the case of a petition complaining of a present personal - grievance, calling, as an urgent necessity, for an immediate cussed.
remedy, the matter contained in such petition may be Petitions brought into discussion on the presentation thereof (see p. referred to 533). All other such petitions, when laid on the table, are committee on public
1 100 L. J. 138; 14 ib. 22; 74 ib. 1897, 56,910; in the five years ending 236.
1902, 35,646; and in the three years ? In the five years ending 1832, ending 1905, 16,826. Since 1833, 23,283 public petitions were pre 921,481 petitions have been presented to the House of Commons; sented. 33,742 petitions were prein the five years ending 1842, 70,072; sented session 1893-4, a number in the five years ending 1852, 62,248; only exceeded by the 33,898 of sesin the five years ending 1862, 63,003; sion 1843. in the five years ending 1867, 53,305; 3 In 1833 and 1834, sittings from in the five years ending 1872, twelve to three were devoted to pe101,573; in the five years ending titions and private bills. 1877, 91,846 ; in the five years ending When a petition has been laid 1882, 72,850; in the five years ending upon the table, it is irregular for any 1887, 73,815; in the five years ending member to remove it, 105 C. J. 99. 1892, 50,141; in the five years ending
Chapter referred to the committee on Public Petitions, without any petitions ; XX.
and in cer_ question being put, though if the petition relates to a subject tain cases Procedure with respect to which the member presenting it bas given be printed.
an ordered to of Public Petitions notice of a motion, and the petition has not been ordered see p. 534. to be printed by the committee, he may, after notice given, When the move that the petition be printed and circulated with the motion is made, see notice paper of the house. p. 534.
Thus while a member may state the purport and material Debate on allegations of a petition, he is not at liberty to read the personal whole or greater part of the petition itself: but if he desires grievance).
S. 0. 78, that the petition should be read, the proper course is to Appendix I. require it to be formally read by the Clerk, at the table.1
On the 14th June, 1844, it was ruled, by Mr. Speaker, that a petition of parties complaining of their letters having been detained and opened by the post-office, and praying for inquiry, was not of that urgency that entitled it to immediate discussion, especially as notice of its presentation had been given on the previous day, which proved that the matter was such as admitted of delay: but on the 24th June, 1844, a similar petition, of which no previous notice had been given, was permitted to open a debate. In the latter case, however, the complaint was that "letters are secretly detained and opened ; ” and thus a " present personal grievance” was alleged, while in the former case a past grievance only had been complained of. On the 5th July, 1855, a petition complaining of the recent misconduct of the police in Hyde Park, and of injuries personally sustained by the petitioners, was held not to justify a debate, as the grievance complained of did not demand an immediate remedy. On the same ground, the Speaker ruled that a petition presented 1st May, 1890, praying for the appointment of a commission to inquire into the municipal contracts of the borough of Salford, did not come within the operation of standing order No. 78.5 Neither, under cover of a motion for the adjournment
1 79 H. D. 3 s. 496; 106 ib. 300.
139 ib. 453.
Debates upon peti. tions.
of the house, will a member be permitted to bring under Chapter
which hela he XX. discussion the contents of a petition which he would be restrained by the standing order from debating:1 but a personal explanation has been permitted without any question being before the house, upon matters affecting a member, which have been alluded to in a petition.? It will be observed that, although the standing orders Privilege
interruprestrict debate to urgent cases, that restriction does not tions, see extend to a petition complaining of a matter affecting the P. 2 privileges of the house, such a case being governed by the general rule, that a question of privilege is always entitled to immediate consideration. But if the matter does not demand the immediate interposition of the house, the Petitions
from percourse would be to appoint by order that the petition be sons comtaken into consideration on a future day, and be printed the house,
for the information of the house. Petitions A motion for printing and circulating a petition with printed with the the notice paper of the house, pursuant to standing order Notice of
n the motion No. 79, if unopposed, can be made before the commence- requisite, ment of public business (see p. 255). The proposal is not see p. 246. a matter of right, but is open to debate and objection like
any other motion.
grievance if dealt with under standing order No. 78, or a
see p. 93.
17th July, 1856 (attorney-general and the Bedford Charities).
? 48 H. D. 3 s. 226; 109 ib. 235; and 7th July, 1856.
3 104 C. J. 302; 105 ib. 110; 112 ib. 231; 113 ib. 68; 114 ib. 357; 146 H. D. 3 s. 97; 168 ib. 1855; Royal Atlantic Steam Company 19th July, 1861, 164 ib. 1178; 116 C. J. 377. 381.
- 86 H. D. 3 8. 328; Lisburn Election, 18th April, 1864, 119 C. J. 173.
5 Southampton writ, 97 ib. 329; 63 H. D. 3 s. 1057 ; 79 ib. 686. This order has been made regarding peti. tions presented in a former session, 102 C. J. 22. 203; 112 ib. 155 ; 113 ib. 331.
6 88 ib. 95.
Chapter which addresses are affixed," the general object of every Addresses
petition, and the total number of petitions and the signa- .
1 Pursuant to Special Report, Public Petitions committee, 11th April, 1878, 183 C. J. 205, and to sessional orders. If the chairman of a public meeting signs a petition on behalf of those assembled, the fact is recorded in the report of the
: 97 ib. 302; 98 ib. 396. 460. 549; 101 ib. 142.
3 100 ib. 538. 648; 101 ib. 1021;
- 97 ib. 57.
see p. 406.
ACCOUNTS, PAPERS, AND RECORDS PRESENTED TO
duction. Returns by PARLIAMENT is invested with the power of ordering all docuorder and address. ments to be laid before it, which are necessary for its in
formation. Each house enjoys this authority separately,
laid before and papers relating to trade, finance, and general or local Parliament
w pursuant to matters, are ordered directly, and are returned in obedience store to the order of the house whence it was issued: but returns p. 540. of matters connected with the exercise of royal prerogative, are obtained by means of addresses to the Crown. The distinction between these two classes of returns Production
of papers should be borne in mind; as, on the one hand, it is before select
stan committees, irregular to order directly that which should be sought for com by address; and, on the other, it is a compromise of the authority of Parliament to resort to the Crown for information, which it can obtain by its own order. The application of the principle is not always clear: but, as a general rule, it may be stated that all public departments connected with the collection or management of the revenue, or which are under the control of the treasury, or are constituted or regulated by statute, may be reached by a direct order from either house of Parliament: but that public officers and departments, subject to his Majesty's secretaries of state, or the privy council, are to receive their orders from the Crown.
Thus, returns from the Commissioners of Customs and of Inland Revenue, the Post-office, the Board of Trade, and the Treasury, are obtained by order. These include every account that can be rendered of the revenue and expenditure of the country; of commerce and navigation ; of salaries and pensions; of general statistics ; and of facts connected with the administration of all the revenue departments.